Covid 19: How we ensured a secure Work from Home Policy: Manoj Deorukhkar, CIO, Sterling and Wilson Pvt Ltd
By Manoj Deorukhkar, CIO, Sterling and Wilson Pvt Ltd
COVID-19 has created havoc across the world, and the pandemic has severely disrupted the social life and economic activities. For organizations, it’s quite challenging to ensure the health and safety of people, and at the same time having a minimal impact on business continuity.
At Sterling and Wilson, we quickly responded by aligning our IT strategy with the evolving situation. The company had a well-thought-out BCP (Business Continuity Planning) policy in place. The policy was rolled out immediately, with applications availability, collaboration, and mobility as key pillars.
To implement work from home (WFH), help desks were rapidly set up at regional centres, laptops were made available for everyone, and wherever it was not feasible desktops were installed. Since the lockdown was sudden, and with the immediate effect, many of our employees couldn’t manage to get their laptops to work from home. We quickly came up with UYOD (Use Your Own Device) policy and enabled our people to use their laptops, with necessary precautions, to ensure continuity of work.
For an EPC company, work from home is a novel experience. However, our people responded positively and quickly adapted to this new reality. Though we faced some challenges, in a few locations, due to bandwidth and stability of home internet connection. Our people are using tools like Microsoft Teams, LifeSize, SharePoint, and OneDrive for internal and external communication and to store database.
To ensure safe and trusted connections for work from home, we have enhanced the VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections multi-fold. The company has organized online tutorials on how to use ICT tools to dispense their day-to-day activities. Also, we have identified anchors at each location to help their peers.
Investments made by the company in cloud and collaborative tools have benefited us immensely. Our cloud strategy has ensured the availability of a wide range of applications without having an on-premise operational data center. Collaborative tools such as video conferencing have empowered our employees to interact seamlessly with peers, partners, and customers and take the necessary decisions.
Cybercriminals are always at the look-out for a situation like this to do cyber frauds that could lead to a data breach, loss of privacy, etc. Work from home has a massive implication on IT security posture, especially on network and application security. Recently, we have seen an upsurge in attempts from hackers, since the lockdown, and that has prompted us to vigorously restart the IT security awareness campaign as well as the actual deployment of few tools like anti-virus on personal computers.
An organization must have strong systems and processes in place to ensure business continuity. While continuity of work is a business need, our utmost priority is the safety of our people. ICT tools have been a great help in facilitating the work from home concept. It’s an opportune time for an organization to relook into the digital transformation strategy.
Additionally, remote working can translate into a reduction in operational costs, minimizing business travels, less pollution, etc. Most importantly, it can help employees to achieve work-life balance and be more productive.